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Thursday, October 22, 2015

"8 Days": Tone

The tone of 8 Days was important to me.  Yes, there's an asteroid coming and the world freaks out.  But how does that feel?

Did I want to show wall-to-wall, drug-fueled partying, a la Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" music video?  Did I want to show masses of humanity, coming together, singing "Kumbaya" until the minutes tick away?  Did I want everyone to be utterly and woefully depressed about the whole thing?

It's easy to fall into any one of those realms, but I decided from the start that this would be an anthologized story.  Meaning, multiple tales involving different characters, but all reacting to the same basic circumstances.  So I can have party scenes with family scenes with depressing scenes.  Yay!

In a way, I took some storytelling inspiration from the HBO series The Leftovers.

Like 8 Days, it focuses on a single, worldwide event and the aftermath.  (In the show's case, it's a Rapture-like event dubbed The Sudden Departure.  Two percent of the world's population just vanished.)  If you've watched the show, it can be a very dour hour.  I mean, ... it can be emotionally taxing.  (But I like the show.  Really.)

It would have been easy for me to go down that same path.  Given the choices that people might make when they believe the world is ending, it would not be hard for the book to feel leaden with angst and strife.  Therefore, I took my inspiration from the show by not going down that path.  Yes, there's some dark shit.  There's some drama.  But I made sure that there was some lightness, too.

For a bit of the lightness, I took some additional inspiration from another HBO show.

You may notice there's some wisecracking in the scenes involving the president.  This, actually, isn't too far from the truth.  It's often said that people in very serious positions (police, doctors, etc.) resort to jokes to help them deal with the stresses of their work.  So I put some of that in here, too.

In the next post, learning about "verisimilitude."  And coming soon, a couple of near-cardiac events I had (one relating to the title, the other relating to the quality of the book).

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